Our “Mysterious Intruder True Story” Youtube video went live today

Don’s and my latest video went live on Youtube today. He wrote the copy and did the narration, as usual, and I helped with the post-production, which I’m finding to be a lot of fun.* This video deals with a bizarre occurrence back in 2003 that Don had when he was alone at work in the early morning.

The company he worked for at the time produced maps and mapping software. The company was named DeLorme and the eponymous founder, David DeLorme, (I’m told) started the company by going door-to-door and to businesses peddling paper maps and such out of his car. Eventually, he turned it into a multi-million dollar company in southern Maine, USA.

One thing I found interesting about DeLorme was their giant, rotating globe “Eartha” that dominates the lobby when you go inside the building.** It is quite impressive in person, and according to Wikipedia “is the world’s largest rotating and revolving globe” at 41.5 feet (12.6 meters) in diameter. It really does look huge when you’re standing next to it, that’s for sure.

We’re continuing work on a couple more videos, since Don wants to upload once a week. I edited a script he sent me last night from someone he knows, who had a bunch of weird stuff happen at her work such as items falling off of shelves, and the like. Also, we received a story from someone through the channel’s email about an encounter when she was trying to help her boyfriend sell some guitars on Craigslist.

I hope everyone is doing well. The weather here in the hills outside of Santa Cruz has been pretty nice so we are thinking of doing a hike this weekend. We probably would go even it wasn’t nice and just dress for success, but it is much nicer when one doesn’t have to do that, of course.

* The only part I find a little tedious about helping make Youtube videos so far is the hunt and peck for suitable images and such, but you can’t have everything!

** DeLorme sold its business to Garmin in 2016. Last I checked, Eartha was still there, which is nice.

Started “Unnatural Selection,” a new Youtube Channel

I hope everyone had a nice holiday. We did here and got in some hiking and other fun stuff. Also, my husband has been wanting to start a Youtube channel for a while now and since we had some time during the holidays, he and I got that going.

The name of the channel is Unnatural Selection and will mostly feature short, dark and strange stories. He wants to prioritize reading stories that are true or at least could be true though we’ll dabble with the supernatural as well.

I’m helping with the video post-production and also editing the scripts. If you like this sort of thing, check it out.

I’m still working on figuring out what I want to do for the next anthology. So far The Lost Librarian’s Grave is doing pretty well, especially the paperback as it turns out, so I’m feeling pretty good about doing more books.

Four “Bus Poems” published by 5-7-5 Haiku Journal.

Thank you very much to Atlantean Publishing for reprinting/publishing several of my “Bus Poems,” in their 5-7-5 Haiku Journal.

I wrote a bunch of these short pieces back when I worked as a paratransit driver. I would see something that I thought was notable or I’d have a thought or someone would say something about how they “didn’t like dead people much” or … well, you get the idea.

During the next stop, when it was safe and convenient, I’d scribble my idea in a little notebook I kept inside the bus.

This is the first time any of these Bus Poems (and I’ve written a lot of them) have appeared online. Some of them were published in print back in 2019 in Organic Ink Volume 2 by Dragonsoul Press, though that paperback is currently out of print.

For those of you who have been waiting for the paperback version of The Lost Librarian’s Grave anthology, it became available on Amazon as of November 29th.

My mighty tome of “depravity, misjudgment, and misadventure” is also available as an e-book and can be read for free with Kindle Unlimited.*

* “Mighty” in the sense that the paperback is 437 pages, and “my” in the sense that I edited the thing and didn’t succumb to the bewitching, siren’s call to include some of my own fiction, though I almost did!

Work Outs: November 7 – 13, 2021 (Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Reverse Trick or Treating)

It has been quite a while since I posted here, but I thought now that things are settling down a bit with work on The Lost Librarian’s Grave anthology I should make the effort to start posting my workouts again.

While I’m usually more focused on weight maintenance rather than loss, I did loosen up a bit too much with my eating over the past few months so I want to lose ten pounds to get back to where I was before I started working hard on the book, and maybe go another ten pounds beyond that since I’m feeling the itch again. So I’m going to make that one of my goals.

Speaking of weight loss…

There isn’t much in the way of Halloween celebrations where we live, at least so far as people going door to door for candy goes.

This year though, we did get a family of “Reverse Trick or Treaters” who showed up in costume handing out little cartons and treats as a way of introducing themselves to the neighborhood.

They apparently bought a house on the road behind where we live. The trio seemed awfully nice and I liked their costumes too–a knight complete with sword and shield as well as a pair of ninjas!

Sun, November 7th

Afternoon Walk: 8.9 miles. Did some light calisthenics a couple of times during the hike and at the end.

Mon, November 8th

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • (Afternoon Workout) Warmed up with dynamic stretching, indian clubs, and calisthenics
  • (Superset) BB Bent Over Rows: 65 lbs. reps x 4 sets x 12 reps +
    • Set #1: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 25 reps
    • Set #2: Crunches: 35 reps
    • Set #3: Bicep Curls (ez-curl bar): 31 lbs. x 15 reps
    • Set #4: Fitness Bag Pick Up & Drop (4-ct): 8 reps
  • Lat Pull Downs (hog bar): 60 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps +
    • Set #1: Cross Body Hammer Curls: 12 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Set #2: Fitness Bag Cleans: 12 reps
    • Set #3: Sumo Squats: 12 reps
    • Set #4: Face Pulls: 15 lbs. x 12 reps
  • Deadlifts (hex bar): 135 lbs. x 5 sets x 12 reps
  • Hindu Push-Up Stretch: 12 reps

Tues, November 9th

I took a rest day today and did some stretching and such off and on throughout the day.

My husband and I visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium back in September, which was fun. We hadn’t been in a long time and we both independently came up with the idea of going.* I made a little four-minute video out of some of the cell phone footage I took and slapped it up on Youtube not long after the visit.

I wanted to include some octopus footage but there was no getting near the tank with those popular cephalopods! I did take some pictures but they didn’t really come out in the dark what with the prohibition of flash photography and all. Got some pretty decent jellyfish and sardine footage though … decent for an ancient cell phone.

One thing I find entertaining about going to things like aquariums is watching the reactions and curiosity of small children, which is at least as much fun to me as the exhibits themselves. I imagine we’ll probably go back again around 2030 if our pattern holds.

Wed, November 10th

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • Afternoon Workout: Worked with 1 lb. indian clubs for 30 minutes.

Thur, November 11th

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • Afternoon Workout: Full Squats: 4 sets x 15 reps
  • (Super Set) Seated Leg Extensions: 25 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps +
    • Set #1: Standing Calf Raises: 15 reps
    • Set #2: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 15 reps
    • Set #3: Partial Cossack Squats (2-ct): 15 reps
    • Set #4: Standing Side Crunches (ea. side): 15 reps
  • (Super Set) Seated Leg Curls: 45 lbs. x 2 sets x 12 reps, 50 lbs. x 2 sets x 12 reps +
    • Set #1: Front Kick Stretch (ea. leg): 15 reps
    • Set #2: Side Kick Stretch (ea. leg): 15 reps
    • Set #3: Snap Kick Exercise (ea. leg): 15 reps
    • Set #4: Walking Lunges: 15 reps

Fri, November 12th

  • BB Military Press: 50 lbs. x 5 sets x 12 reps
  • DB Incline Bench Press: 20 lbs. x 5 sets x 12 reps
  • (Super Set) Tricep Pushdowns (v-handle): 35 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps +
    • Sport Grippers (80 lbs.): 4 sets x 8 reps
  • (Super Set) Tricep Reverse Pushdowns (d-handles): 12.5 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps +
    • Set #1: Face Pulls: 20 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Set #2: Supine Leg Windmills (ea. way): 30 revolutions
    • Set #3: Light Spring Bar: 8 reps (supinated) and 8 reps (pronated)
    • Set #4: Fitness Bag Pick-up, Shoulder, and Drop: 8 reps

Sat, November 13th

Morning Walk: 3.66 miles. Did some inverted rows using a hitching post for horses near the trail.

* I have found this “independently coming up with the same idea” thing happens more and more with my husband and me the longer we are married, lol.

The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror and dark, short story anthology now available on Amazon as an ebook

I am happy to say that the horror and dark fiction anthology I’ve been working on some quite some time went live on Amazon last night as an ebook. Besides being available for purchase, you can read it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Buy the ebook on Amazon for $4.99 or read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

We’ll be releasing the paperback version of The Lost Librarian’s Grave later in October.

When I put together the table of contents I got to thinking about how people read anthologies. I know some people like to start at the beginning and read straight through to the end.

The traditional table of contents, which I put up a preview of here, caters to that way of doing things. It also has, for me anyway, a comforting feel of how I’m using to seeing books.

Some readers (me among them) like to skip around a collection of stories and read a short one here, a long one there, maybe that one with the weird exorcist or the disgruntled librarian who gets hectored by gargoyles.

For people like me, I grouped the stories (and four poems) under various headings. Some of the stories could have gone under multiple headings. For example, “Ocular” could have just as easily been a “strange adventure” but I liked “An Eye for an Eye” because of the play on words.

One thing I like about checking out books on Amazon is their “Look Inside” feature where they let you preview about 10% of a book. The Lost Librarian’s Grave is a pretty big book, so 10% ends up being a pretty goodly chunk of reading. I put the stories in bold text below that one can read in their entirety through Amazon’s preview.

I tried to pick three that were pretty different from each other in tone and style as well as plot to highlight the variety I did my best to bring to the collection.

Tomorrow I think I’m going to take a much-needed day off from working on the book, and then get the wheels turning again on Monday for putting together the paperback, which will start with giving my existing ebook cover a spine and a back page.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Witches, Magicians, and Sorcery

  • “Medusa’s Mirror” by Paul L. Bates
  • “Snake and Sinew, Flame and Bone” by Amanda Cecelia Lang
  • “The Artist” by Mike Murphy
  • “The Clearing” by Helen Power
  • “The Maze of Moonlight and Mirrors” by Gerri Leen (poem)

The Dead, the Mad, and the Terrified

  • “Rathbone” by Zach Ellenberger
  • “The Glorious Protection of Angels” by Michelle Ann King
  • “The Jump” by Pauline Yates
  • “Three Bad Things” by Kathy Kingston

Ancient Days and Apocalypse Now

  • “Butterflies of the Longest Night” by Russell Hammell
  • “Death, and the Scent of Tea” by Cheryl Zaidan
  • “The Day in Gold” by Adele Gardner
  • “The Savage Night” by Pedro Iniguez
  • “Valhalla is a Lie” by Benjamin Thomas

Strange Adventures and Weird Journeys

  • “Among Stars and Stones” by Brandon Barrows
  • “Mother Winter” by Matthew Chabin
  • “He Gets Hungry Sometimes” by Carol Gyzander
  • “The Little People” by Kurt Newton
  • “They Never Left” by Matthew McKiernan

A Murder of Gargoyles

  • “Gargoyle of the World, Unite!” by Mary Jo Rabe
  • “Odd Job Tom” by Eddie Generous
  • “The Grotesque” by Rhonda Parrish (poem)

The Scientific Method

  • “Aegir’s Son” by Edward Ahern
  • “Bottled Rage” by Owen Auch
  • “Voyage of the PFV-4” by David Rose

Ghosts and the Grave

  • “Good Boy Anyway” Briana McGuckin
  • “The Infinity of Worse” by Ken Hueler
  • “The Problem with Bottling Troublesome Spirits” by Juleigh Howard-Hobson

Demon-Haunted World

  • “A Bed Both Long and Narrow” by Sipora Coffelt
  • “Blooms of Darkness” by Melissa Miles
  • “Face to Face” by Tom Leveen

An Eye for an Eye

  • “Inside a Refrigerator” by Adrian Ludens
  • “Ocular” by Nidheesh Samant
  • “Penance” by J.V. Gachs
  • “The Binding of Chrysanthoula” by Angeliki Radou

End of the Line

  • “Devil’s Oak” by Mary Leoson
  • “Nature versus Nurture” by Gerri Leen (poem)
  • “The Ocean’s Misfortune” by Alison McBain
  • “The Woman in the Wallpaper” by Gregory L. Norris
  • “Cold Storage” by Jude Reid

The Lost Librarian’s Grave: Table of Contents Reveal

Did a Table of Contents reveal on the Redwood Press blog for The Lost Librarian’s grave ebook, which will be available on Amazon in a couple of days.

It’ll be for sale, of course, but if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free.

Redwood Press

Our debut ebook anthology is going to be available on Amazon in a couple of days, so I thought this would be a fun time to post our table of contents.

The book contains 36 short stories, including one novella, and four poems. It is a sizeable tome!

What is more, if you have Kindle Unlimited, you’ll be able to read the ebook for free. Of course one can buy the Grave for $4.99, though I’m planning on running a sale for October.

The book has the usual table of contents listing the stories and poems in the order they appear, but we also collected up the stories by theme such as “Demon-Haunted World,” and “The Dead, the Mad, and the Terrified.” A few of them, naturally, could go in more than one category but as editor I had to make the final call and I did!

The idea…

View original post 331 more words

Tweaked the Ebook Cover for The Lost Librarians Grave

I tweaked the ebook cover for The Lost Librarian’s Grave a bit. I’m planning on uploading it to Amazon this weekend. As I mentioned in the Redwood Press blog post, suggestions and feedback are always welcome.

Redwood Press

Work continues on The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror and weird fiction anthology, which is good because October will be here before we know it. Today I tweaked the ebook cover a little, giving the gargoyle a bit of an aura or glowing effect, as well as a few other things.

I also decided to put some author names on the cover. It was very hard to decide* so the three of us each picked our favorite story–none of us liked the same one the best. This was easy for Don, a bit harder for Occasum, and very hard for me because I liked all the stories and had several favorites for differing reasons.

Then I added another author because I have misspelled their name now about a dozen times, and while not a huge deal it seemed a way of balancing the scales and achieving some literary Maat. Finally…

View original post 165 more words

Work Outs: August 29 – September 4, 2021 (USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier)

The other day, I was looking through some uncatalogued pictures from our 2013 visit to the USS Hornet in Alameda, California. I’ve never done anything with them, so I thought it would be a good idea to show some of them here.*

The Hornet is an Essex-class carrier that was built in 1943 and saw a lot of wartime action and several modernizing refits before being decommissioned in 1970. In addition to its war service, the ship was also used to recover the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 astronauts in 1969. The ship was opened as a museum ship in 1998.

Sun, August 29th

Afternoon Walk: 7.19 miles. More uphill sprints, but no canine companions this time, unfortunately.

Mon, August 30th

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • (Morning) Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 4 mm x 5 reps, Right = Closed x 3 + 2 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 4 mm x 5 reps, Right = 2mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 4 mm x 5 reps, Right = 2mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 4 mm x 5 reps, Right = 2mm x 5 reps
  • Finger Extensions (band): 8 lbs. x 4 sets x 10 reps
  • (Afternoon) Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Manual Program, Level 5. RPM’s: 70+

One of my goals was to close the Trainer gripper to 4mm for 4 sets of 5 reps with my left hand, which I achieved in April. I took some time off from doing the grippers and found I couldn’t still perform that benchmark.

So I got back to using the grippers, and the deadlifting helps too with developing strength in closing the hands. This is especially true of the double overhand grip far more than the mixed grip. I was able to hit the 4mm mark again today. I’ve set a new goal of 2mm with my left hand.

Tues, August 31st

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • Afternoon Walk-Jog: 5.02 miles.

Wed, September 1st

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • (Afternoon Workout) Warmed up with dynamic stretching, indian clubs, and steel mace
  • (Superset) Ring Rows (~45°): 10 reps x 4 sets x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
    • Set #2: Crunches: 35 reps
    • Set #3: Bicep Curls (ez-curl bar): 31 lbs. x 15 reps
    • Set #4: BB Deadlift: 135 lbs. x 6 reps
  • (Week 5 of 12) Deadlifts: 169 lbs. x 4 sets x 3 reps

Thur, September 2nd

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • Afternoon Workout: warmed up with calisthenics and dynamic stretching
  • (Super Set) Standing Leg Curls (ea. leg): 22.5 lbs. x 4 sets x 10 reps +
    • Set #1: Squats: 20 reps
    • Set #2: Standing Calf Raises: 20 reps
    • Set #3: Sumo Squat and Kick (4-ct): 10 reps
    • Set #4: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 21 reps
  • (Super Set) Snap Kick Exercise (ea. leg): 4 sets x 10 reps +
    • Set #1: BB Squats: 45 lbs. x 8 reps
    • Set #2: Full Squats: 10 reps
    • Set #3: BB Squats: 45 lbs. x 8 reps
    • Set #4: Hindu Squats: 20 reps
  • Finished the workout with Cossack Squats (2-ct, partials): 10 reps, Seated Dorsiflexion (both feet): 30 lbs. x 15 reps, Walking Lunges: 12 reps. Did some post-workout static stretching.

There were a number of aircraft on the deck and inside the ship as well. My favorite was this TMB 3-E Avenger built by Grumman for use as a torpedo bomber.

Fri, September 3rd

  • Afternoon Workout: Warmed up with indian clubs, and dynamic stretching
  • BB Military Press: 50 lbs. x 12 reps, 52.5 lbs. x 3 sets x 8 reps
  • BB Bench Press: 65 lbs. x 8 reps, 75 lbs. x 8 reps, 85 lbs. x 8 reps, 95 lbs. x 8 reps
  • (Superset) DB Lateral Raises: 8 lbs. x 2 sets x 12 reps, 10 lbs. x 2 sets x 12 reps +
    • Set #1: Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 16 reps
    • Set #2: Wrist Rolling (cable): 12.5 lbs. x twice rolling all the way out and back. I used both pronated and mixed grips, then rolled half the cable with supinated grip.
    • Set #3: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 21 reps
    • Set #4: Supine Leg Windmills: 50 revolutions each way
  • (Superset) Tricep Pushdowns (v-handle): 35 lbs. x 12 reps, 40 lbs. x 10, 12 reps, 45 lbs. x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Incline Push-ups (4th step): 8 reps
    • Set #2: Light Spring Bar: 8 reps (pronated) + 8 reps (supinated) + 4 reps (overhead, pronated and then supinated). Those last few supinated overhead reps were hard.
    • Set #3: Face Pulls: 20 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Set #4: Cat Litter Fitness Bag Pick-up and Drop (4-ct): 8 reps\
  • Finished off the workout with a set of reverse tricep pushdowns (d-handle, ea. arm): 12.5 lbs. x 8 reps
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 2 mm x 5 reps, Right = Closed x 3 + 2 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 2 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 2 mm x 2 + 3 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 2 mm x 2 + 3 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 reps
  • Finger Extensions (band): 8 lbs. x 4 sets x 10 reps

The Hornet has all sorts of different services for the crew, as you’d imagine, including laundry, food service, recreation, and of course various dental and medical services. I remember, at the time, thinking that this medical room had quite a nice collection of surgery books.

Sat, September 4th

Morning Walk: 3.66 miles. Mostly on pavement but some particularly good hills. We had a nice day going to a coin store, where we spent about two hours talking about coins and many other things, and then had some nice sandwiches at a local, independent grocer in the area with a nice deli counter. We at our lunch at the beach down in Santa Cruz. All in all, a relaxing day.

The picture below seems a nice way to end this post. It is a view from the Hornet of distant San Francisco with the span of the Bay Bridge leading to Treasure Island on the right. Click on the picture to see the larger version, which I think shows the darkening bay to better advantage. Who knows what hideous and delightful secrets the eldritch waters contain?

Weekly Weigh-in: We bought a scale but it hasn’t arrived in the mail yet. I’ve continued to eat according to my maintenance plan so as far as I can tell my total loss remains at 28.6 lbs.

* If you like ships, I put up some pictures back in 2020 of our visit to the liberty ship, SS Jeremiah O’Brien in San Francisco, CA. I guess 2013 was a good year for us, nautically-speaking.

Work Outs: August 15 – 21, 2021 (Sprints with a random dog, and dragon meat at the thrift store.)

Sun, August 15th

Afternoon Walk: 6.51 miles.

I did some sprinting uphill and then walked back down the hill and rejoined my husband and walked back up the same hill. I did this a few times during our little hike.

At one point someone’s off leash Jack Russell terrier-looking dog decided to ignore his owner as I was running by and started running alongside me, which everyone found funny–even the owner who kept uselessly yelling, “Get back here, Biscuit, get back here!” over and over again.*

Mon, August 16th

Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.

I have been moving things around quite a bit down in our basement gym lately, and I had to find a new place to put my sand bag and fitness rock, because I needed their old home for the lawn mower and I kept having to step over the rock to get to the plates. Since I dead lift these days in stocking feet, I would say having to step over a big, old rock is an accident waiting to happen.

So now they both live in a much more homey, compact place over by the wheelbarrow, where I’m sure they are much happier. I think of my fitness rock as a friendly rock so I don’t imagine it is waiting with lithic patience to injure my sensitive, little, pink toes. At least I hope not.**

Tues, August 17th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • (Afternoon Workout) Warmed up with indian clubs, steel mace, and dynamic stretching
  • BB Bent Over Rows: 85 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Lat Pulldowns (hog bar): 70 lbs. x 7 reps, 60 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Bicep Curls (ez-curl bar): 41 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Sandbag (100 lbs.) and Fitness Rock: 8 sets alternating between Sand Bag Bear Hug Hold for 30 seconds and picking up the rock and throwing it up and back over my head in an explosive manner for 8 reps, so I’m doing 4 sets of each exercise.
  • Ended the workout by tearing up a huge pile of cardboard boxes that we’ve let accumulate too long. I just used my hands (no box cutter) so my hands and forearms got some nice stimulation, especially with some of the sturdier boxes.

Wed, August 18th

Morning Walk: 3.28 miles. Did some calisthenics afterward.

Thur, August 19th

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • Afternoon Workout: Warmed up with indian clubs, steel mace, and dynamic stretching
  • BB Military Press: 50 lbs. x 8 reps, 55 lbs. x 8 reps, 60 lbs. x 8 reps, 65 lbs. x 6 reps
  • BB Bench Press: 75 lbs. x 8 reps, 85 lbs. x 8 reps, 95 lbs. x 8 reps, 105 lbs. x 7 reps
  • (Superset) BB Standing Skull Crushers: 51 lbs. x 8 reps, 56 lbs. x 8 reps, 61 lbs. x 8 reps, 66 lbs. x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
    • Set #2: Heavy Spring Bar: Pronated x 5 reps + Supinated x 5 reps
    • Set #3: Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 15 reps
    • Set #4: Face Pulls: 20 lbs. x 12 reps
  • (Superset) 4 sets x 8 reps of both exercises, each hand
    • Captains of Crush Gripper, Sport, 80 lbs.
    • Finger Extensions with 8 lb. band

I made a trip to the thrift store as I often do today. Not so much because I needed anything but because it is fun to do a quick walk-through every once in awhile to check out the treasures of the day, and because the store is conveniently located across the parking lot from the grocer.

This tin of dragon meat caught my eye and I won’t lie and say I didn’t think about it, but in the end I decided to take a pass. My husband eats plant-based and while I’m a filthy omnivore who is happy to eat anything that swims, flies, crawls (don’t knock bugs until you’ve tried them!), walks, etc., I do draw the line at eating highly intelligent, spellcasting, magical lifeforms who are bigger than me and possibly have long memories….

I suppose I could have bought the thing–at $4.99 US the price was certainly right–and resold it on ebay for about $30, but, again, I didn’t want to be involved in the trafficking of such flesh for the reasons listed above. After all, I like to think I learned a little something (including courage, thank you, X-Files) from all of those years of Dungeons & Dragons.

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • (Afternoon Workout) Warmed up with dynamic stretching, indian clubs and light calisthenics
  • (Week 4 of 12) Dead Lifts: 157.5 lbs. x 5 sets x 3 reps
  • Ring Rows: 4 sets x 8 reps
  • (Superset) Lat Pulldowns (d-handles): 55 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Crunches: 30 reps
    • Set #2: Alternating One-Handed KB Swings (2-ct): 15 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Set #3: Leg Lifts: 20 reps
    • Set #4: Fitness Bag Snatches: 15 reps

I made my deadline of finishing editing The Lost Librarian’s Grave by August 31st, thankfully. (I’m typing this on Sep 2nd.) It ended up at a princely 113,800+ words for 33 stories and 4 poems, so if nothing else it is a pretty decent-sized work.

My next upcoming goals are to finalize the table of contents–I’m actually going to do two of them–and more importantly the cover.

Fri, August 20th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles. Did some calisthenics afterward.
  • (Afternoon) Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Manual Program, Level 5. RPM’s: 70+

Sat, August 21st

Afternoon Walk: 5.08 miles. Did about 10 minutes of miscellaneous calisthenics after the walk.

Weekly Weigh-in: I am the same weight as last week as I continue on my maintenance plan for now. My total loss thus far is 28.6 lbs.

* The picture is not of the dog in question. I was a little busy what with the being out of breath sprinting and all, so I grabbed a cute shot of a dog that looks much like the energetic Biscuit. 🙂

** I have gotten quite attached to my fitness rock since I dig it out of what used to the corner of our foundation in the back of our house almost a year ago now. If the idea of being attached to a rock seems odd, well, what can I say–I’m a child of the 70s!

666 Dark Drabbles: An anthology from Black Hare Press.

666 is the eleventh title of the Dark Drabbles series of books, published by Black Hare Press out of Melbourne, Australia.* My magnificent contribution to this collection is a 100 word piece entitled “Azazel’s Heart,” which I came up with a couple of years ago. I recently rewrote the drabble to give it a more infernal flavor, what with the title of the book and all.

“Azazel’s Heart” is something of an epistolary** tale of sorcery and revenge set in the same vaguely post modern milieu I often use as a backdrop for some of my other stories.

I was casting around for a devil’s name to use and I came up with a few names, and then I thought of Azazel. Now, this devil is associated with various things, including the idea of a scapegoat and also forbidden knowledge, but in modern times this mighty fiend is perhaps best known as the dark patron of miniature painters, who ardently wish to both achieve a high output and excellent quality for their creations. So, Azazel it was!

I liked the cover when I first saw it, though my first reaction was, “Poor bunny!”***

Now I have to admit, I wasn’t terribly interested when I first heard of drabbles some years ago. A drabble is a type of flash fiction where one tells a story in exactly a hundred words. I had all sorts of objections, which I won’t go into here. Eventually I came around to where I put my objections aside and now enjoy both reading and writing in this form.

Reading, because I like to wind down with a book for about a half-hour each night before I go to sleep but sometimes I’m too tired to read that long or with much attention, so I go to one of the many books of drabbles I now have in my collection and read three or four selections before sliding into a hideous yet strangely restful dreamland.****

Also, it is fun to see how others paint a picture and tell a story within the limits of this form. To my thinking, a properly written drabble is not just a scene or a slice-of-life, it is a small story. That is where both the challenge and the fun lie.

Writing, for many reasons–too many to go into all of them here. A few are:

  • I enjoy the challenge of trying to tell a story in exactly 100 words, which I think is the main attraction for many people.
  • I like exploring an idea by writing a drabble and then seeing if any longer work comes from it. Lately, I’ve been writing drabbles in the same “universe” or along the same theme with a longer story. The idea is the drabbles and the longer story stand together, while still being able to stand apart as a coherent whole.
  • I use drabbles as a way to catalogue ideas to take a look at them later, while still producing something that is (hopefully) interesting.
  • Drabbles are a nice way to have some fun with writing when one is busy. Too often I have gone long periods of time without writing because of some other large project or ongoing responsibility that is dominating my life at the time.

* Australia is one of those countries I’ve always wanted to visit, ever since I was a kid. I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but I hope to once travel becomes easier and I figure out a plan to deal with that ubiquitous terror of German backpackers all over the continent–the dreaded Brown-Legged Kidney Huntsman! (Be warned about the K.H. link, it is most definitely NSFW in so many ways, lol.) I’m sure Pat has had to dodge these monstrosities more than once in his travels!

** The story is taken, in part, from what might be a page in a diary.

*** Zeus, our infernal (note the sanguineous Evil Eye!) bunny from the early 2000s, whose great claim to fame was he was featured in a pet magazine–the name of which I can’t recall–with national distribution, isn’t sure what he thinks of the 666 cover. I really liked the art, as I said, but I can see why my favorite fiendish lagomorph has mixed feelings on the issue.

**** Certain others in my household like having physical, rather than electronic, books of drabbles laying around for “bathroom reading.”